I have wanted to try a pear and cheese salad for ages and finally got around to doing it for lunch today. It is so tasty and has all the notes I love, it is sweet, sour, savoury and creamy with a lovely sharp dressing that lifts the whole dish and marries all the flavours. This is one of those salads where you need to get a bit of everything in one mouthful as that’s when all the magic happens, you get all the textures and flavours and they all really enhance each other.
Ingredients (serves 2)
For the pears
- 2 firm pears such as conference, peeled, cut into quarters and cored
- small knob of butter, melted (I used microwave)
- 2 heaped tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or thick balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch of salt
For the salad
- handful of walnut halves or pieces
- 1 pickled walnut, roughly chopped into 1cm pieces (optional)
- 1 small bag of salad leaves, I used rocket
- 80g creamy blue cheese, we used gorgonzola
- Pre heat oven to 180 degrees (fan). Prepare your pears and place them in an oven proof dish. Melt the butter and stir in the sugar. Pour the mixture over the pears along with a good crack of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands so the pears are fully coated. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 mins give them a turn increase heat to 200 and bake for a further 5 minutes until starting to colour but they still have some firmness.
- While the pears are cooking toast the walnuts for a couple of minutes until they start to brown, release their oils and set aside. Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients into a jar or bowl give it a good shake or whisk, taste and adjust if necessary.
- To assemble the salad. Share the salad leaves between 2 serving bowls. Add the cheese by tearing off small chunks, sprinkle over the toasted and pickled walnuts if using. Add a tbsp of the dressing over the leaves, add the cooked pears and finish with an extra drizzle of dressing. Enjoy.